Katherine Carling | Posted: 11 Mar 2019 | Updated: 28 Dec 2020

BYU advances to WCC Championship finals with 68-63 win over Pepperdine

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LAS VEGAS – Paisley Johnson’s 20 points aided No. 2 seed BYU in advancing to the finals of the West Coast Conference tournament after defeating Pepperdine 68-63 Monday.

BYU vs. Pepperdine Box Score

“I want to give Pepperdine a lot of credit,” BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. “The first half we couldn’t stop them from hitting shots or getting rebounds. I’m really proud of my team. What you saw today is kind of what this team is about. We’ve had some downs in halves and we’ve come back and done the little things for us to come back and win tonight. This team is a family. They really trust each other and they know that if they stick together then they can do anything that they want."

The Cougars (24-6) had four players score in double digits. Johnson led all players with 20 points while dishing out five assists. Shaylee Gonzales put up 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Brenna Chase and Sara Hamson contributed 10 points apiece while Chase added five assists and Hamson put up six blocks.

Hamson was the first to put points on the board for BYU and was followed by a 3-pointer by Johnson, which gave the Cougars an early 5-2 lead over Pepperdine (20-11).

A successful pick and roll allowed Chase to hand the ball off to Hamson for a shot in the paint, bringing the score to 13-10 for BYU.

The Cougars were up with one minute left in the first quarter, but two successful free throws gave the lead back to the Waves, ending the first quarter at 18-17.

The Waves came out hot in the second quarter to keep the lead, but aggressive drives to the basket by Chase kept the Cougars close at 21-22. However, Pepperdine took control and a 38-32 advantage going into the break.

Despite BYU’s efforts, the Waves got baskets on three consecutive possessions and had the Cougars trailing by 13 points. BYU went on an 11-0 run to bring the score within two-points, 49-47. Buckets from beyond the arc by both teams ended the third quarter with the Cougars trailing Pepperdine, 52-50.

A jump shot from Gonzales tied the game and was followed by a shot in the paint from Chase to give the 54-52 lead back to BYU early in the fourth quarter. Baskets from Gonzales and Johnson brought the Cougars’ lead to 60-56, but the Waves battled and took a 61-60 advantage. An and-one from Gonzales gave the lead back to BYU and a shot in the paint by Johnson gave the Cougars a four-point advantage at 67-63. Chase secured BYU’s victory with a point from the charity stripe in the final seconds of the game.

The Cougars will advance to the WCC Championship game where they will face Gonzaga on Tuesday, Mar. 12, at 1 p.m. PDT. The game will air live on ESPNU and on BYU Radio.

Team Notes

  • With the 68-63 win over Pepperdine, BYU improved its record to 24-6 on the year and will be playing in its fourth WCC championship game since joining the league.
  • BYU shot 49.2 percent from the field, 36.4 percent from 3-point range and 50 percent from the free-throw line.
  • For the ninth time on the season, the Cougars had four players score in double figures. Paisley Johnson (20), Shaylee Gonzales (17), Brenna Chase (10), Sara Hamson (10).
  • With 14 assists in the game, BYU improved its record to 15-2 when dishing out more assists than its opponents. Pepperdine had 12 in the contest.
  • BYU recorded eight blocks to the Waves five, improving its record to 14-5 on the year when it collects more blocks than its opponents.

Player Notes 

  • Paisley Johnson led all scorers with 20 points for her sixth game on the season with at least 20 points. She tied for game highs in assists with five while pulling down four rebounds. Johnson also made all three attempted 3-point baskets.
  • Shaylee Gonzales recorded her 28th game with double-digit points (17). She grabbed a team-best eight rebounds along with two assists, one block and one steal.
  • Brenna Chase tallied 10 points for her 20th game with 10+points. Her stat line included tying for game highs in assists with five and three rebounds.
  • Sara Hamson led the way in blocks with six while contributing 10 points and grabbing five rebounds in the win. She shot 5 of 7 from the field.